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Subject: Dioxin


From: Jack C. Thompson <tcl>
Date: Wednesday, October 3, 2001
Jane Cullinane <jcullinane [at] cslib__org> writes

>Here at the Connecticut State Library I recently received a call
>from a citizen who is concerned about the dioxins that are a
>by-product of paper made from pulp bleached with chlorine.

This is a highly complex issue in that the production of dioxin is
not only related to chlorine chemical processes, but also to the
combustion of fossil fuels, etc.

It is not unlike the dispersal of asbestos dust along all roadways
during the time that vehicle brake pads contained asbestos, and many
of us are approaching the 30-year induction time for asbestosis.

In 1988, at a TAPPI (Technical Association of the Pulp and Paper
Industry) conference in Washington, DC, I queried a senior paper
chemist about dioxin and he dismissed my concern.

By that time I already knew that susceptibility/reaction to toxins
was variable among those exposed.  For instance, some people can
handle NCR (No Carbon Required) forms without effect; others develop
contact dermatitis.

Some artists can handle turpentine without effect; others cannot.
Some artists can handle turpentine for years without effect, then
suddenly they develop an allergic reaction.

This suggests (to me) that any reaction to exposure to an
environmental toxin is individual, not necessarily universal.

I do not depend alone upon the literature of any particular industry
to inform me about the potential problems in that industry.

There are authors who sift through reams of data in an attempt to
understand what is happening in the chemical aspect of our lives,
and I read those, in addition to the 'professional' literature.

An interesting book which discusses dioxin (among many other
chemicals) is Our Stolen Future, by Theo Colborn, Dianne Dumanoski,
and John Peterson Myers.

For myself, I am not concerned about the potential adverse health
effects of handling paper whose production included the use of
dioxin-containing chemicals because there does not appear to be any
free dioxin wafting off the sheet.

However, I would be careful around a paper fire because that would
release bound dioxin into the atmosphere.

Jack C. Thompson
Thompson Conservation Lab.
7549 N. Fenwick
Portland, Oregon  97217
503-735-3942  (voice/fax)

                  Conservation DistList Instance 15:29
                  Distributed: Monday, October 8, 2001
                       Message Id: cdl-15-29-001
Received on Wednesday, 3 October, 2001

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